U.S. spat erupts ahead of Trump visit to region

16 Mai, 2017, 13:39 | Author: Claudine Rigal

Channel 2 reports, as noted by the Times of Israel, that a Trump aide then angrily told Israelis that the Western Wall was part of the West Bank, which is governed in part by the State of Palestine.

Just days ahead of President Donald Trump's Middle East trip, the Palestinian envoy to the United States said any new Israeli-Palestinian peace push must be based on a two-state solution but that the USA administration had yet to present an actual plan for reviving negotiations.

According to Channel 2, the same official told members of Netanyahu's team that Trump's visit to the Western Wall was a private visit and also added: "No way, why is this your business?"

"The Western Wall is not in your territory", the official reportedly said.

The official allegedly went on to say: "This is not your territory but rather part of the West Bank".

"From the lunch meeting at the White House: 'The PM was asked about the embassy and explained [that moving it] would not lead to bloodshed in the region, as some were trying to intimidate [President Trump] into believing'".

The rival claims to Jerusalem lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and no countries now have their embassies in Jerusalem, instead basing them in Israel's commercial capital Tel Aviv.

David Friedman, the newly minted U.S. ambassador to Israel who has long argued for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and was slated to begin living and working in Jerusalem from the start of his tenure, is expected to begin his post this week working out of the USA embassy in Tel Aviv, according to sources familiar with his plans. "In Israel they're convinced that this statement is opposed to President Trump's policy as it was expressed recently in his behavior and in his firm resistance to the most recent Security Council resolution".

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A report by Israel's Channel 2 news on Monday detailed the bitter exchange ahead of Trump's May 22-23 visit to Israel and the West Bank.

The East Jerusalem holy site is part of the Temple Mount complex, a hilltop compound revered by Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif compound, which includes the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

The former bankruptcy lawyer has expressed scepticism over the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the basis of years of USA peace efforts.

The argument over the Western Wall is not the only complication to come up while planning Trump's trip to Israel.

Netanyahu on Monday called again on Trump to move the embassy to Jerusalem, on the same day that his controversial Israel envoy pick David Friedman arrives in Israel to begin his tenure.

Speaking to Meet the Press, Secretary Tillerson stated "The president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact the peace process".

He has also advocated moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

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